A film incentive aimed at supporting the distribution and promotion of Spanish films and co-productions has been put on hold by the local government agency in Madrid due tolack of funding.

The incentive was intended to support and promote films made by companies based in Madrid but the Comunidad De Madrid, the government organisation in charge of the subsidy, has postponed plans until the economic climate improves.

Talking exclusively to ScreenDaily, Pilar Garcia, the cinema adviser at the Comunidad De Madrid, said: ‘We had discussed the idea of a subsidy for the promotion and distribution of films made by Madrid based companies, including co-productions, but unfortunately it is no longer possible because there is not enough money available for it in the current economic downturn. We hope to discuss it again when the crisis clears.’

She said that the fund would also have been available to co-productions working with local companies and ‘preferably’ shooting in the region. She declined to reveal how much money would have been made available through the incentive.

A large majority of the Spanish film companies are based in Madrid, including the MediaPro, which worked with Woody Allen on Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Morena Films, which co-produced the Che films, and Tornasol Films, who recently formed a distribution agreement with local outfit Alta Films. All of the projects would have benefited from the incentive.

The local industry has been pushing for a distribution incentive for several years, and had been encouraged by the developments in Madrid, but this latest revelation will come as a huge blow, if not a complete shock.

‘I have to say this doesn’t surprise me all that much,’ admits the head of one Madrid based production and distribution outfit. ‘The Comunidad De Madrid is not renowned for supporting feature films, more short films. Plus the government is inevitably cutting back on what they perceive to be lesser industries, such as cinema, in this current crisis.’

It comes after the disastrous introduction of an 18% national tax credit for investors in local film at the beginning of last year.